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Living the Christian Life - Lessons from Colossians - Part One

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand.   Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.   For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your   life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.  - Colossians 3: 1-4 (NLT)

As the Christian landscape often gets blurred with the doctrines of demons it is important to reflect back to the only arbiter that matters for us - the Word of God. The Bible contains all of the answers we seek and all of the instruction we need to navigate this life in this fallen world, until Christ comes again. The first 17 verses of the third chapter of Paul's letter to the Church at Colossae provides us with an insight from God Himself on just how our new lives ought to be. We start today with the first four verses. 

The first point about living the Christian life must be the recognition that we have been raised to a new life with Christ as verse one illustrates. This is no small point in our walk and too often is overlooked and not preached upon enough. The fact that there is a new life indicates that there must have been an old life. That old life is who we were before we came to God for salvation. That old life is supposed to be who we once were, when we lived in the world under the lordship of Satan. 

Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.  - 2Corinthians 4: 4 (NLT)

The world convinces us to measure our righteousness against other humans because we can always feel better about our level of sin when we view others. God however, does not work that way. When we measure who we were in the world under the rule of Satan to the righteousness of a holy God, we then have a better understanding of why we needed a Savior to begin with. Our old life was lived in rebellion to God. Our new life is found in Christ. They are supposed to be completely incompatible. Yet one of the greatest struggles we face as Christians is in leaving that old life buried with Christ and walking in our new raised position. 

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much,   that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.  - Ephesians 2: 4-7 (NLT)

Our position is seated with Christ in heavenly realms. Yet often times we find our condition to be sorely lacking in our walk through this world. We fall short of the mark so often and allow the enemy to whisper lies into our ears. Too many Christians walk without acknowledging that they have been raised to a new life. We struggle with the mixing of our old life and our new. So what is the secret then? How do we get to the point where we walk more in the new life Christ has appropriated for us? The answer is in the remainder of verse one - we must set our sights on the realities of heaven. 

What we choose to focus on will go a long way in determining what we do, how we act, how we grow, and who we become. All of the discussion about sin, false doctrine, and Christian living can often come down to this subject. We value the wrong world. The Christian mindset is supposed be heavenly focused not earthly bound. When we are earthly bound we value the things of this earth, which have no eternal value and all diminish with the simple passing of time.

"Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.  - Matthew 6: 19-21 (NLT)

One of the greatest problems we face in living the Christian life is that our heart is tied to the world instead of heaven. That we act as citizens of this world before we act as citizens of heaven. That we exalt the old life at the expense of the new one Christ died for. It is hard enough dealing with the attractions and distractions of the world but we also must fight off the apostate church which has its heart squarely in the things of this world. Far too much of modern Christendom is focused on earthly blessings instead of heavenly ones. We sell prosperity as something that is bound to the world. The result is a focus on the things of this world. The old life starts to win the battle then. Verse two in the key verses today cannot be more clear - think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth! 

You real life is now hidden with Christ! That is your true position! As verse three however points out, we are supposed to die to our old life. Our old life is supposed to be dead. Far too often we merely hide it away. We feed it to keep it alive and take it out when we want to fool around with the things of this world. Many of us have our old lives on life support; unwilling to make the break we are supposed to. We often hear about those in adulterous relationships who essentially live two lives that they know cannot mix. Do we realize that God sees it exactly the same way?

You adulterous people,   don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.  - James 4: 4 (NIV)

How does God address us here? As an adulterous people! When we refuse to die to our former life we are trying to live the double life of an adulterer! We know they cannot mix. The difference is while you might be able to fool your spouse, God already knows everything! Nothing is hidden from Him! Verse four sums up the main thrust of our opening discussion of living the Christian life - Christ must be our life.

Christ, who is our life, should be our mindset every single day. This is where some poor modern theology confuses people who are "churched" but not saved. When we make people come forward at church for a short prayer and tell them it will only take a few minutes of their lives we are lying to them. The decision to come to Christ is a lifetime decision. It requires the death penalty for our former life in order to walk in our new life raised with Christ. Beloved, I am not suggesting this is easy, nor stating that I have mastered everything. We pursue Christ and we pursue the world. Whichever we pursue with more zeal is whose life we breathe into. There is no victory in pursuing the world, only heartache. But when we truly pursue Christ, we bury our old life and focus on our heavenly position in Him. When we do that we discover that blessings are not related to the size of our house but rather the depth of our peace. We discover that prosperity is not related to how many cars we have but rather how much joy our lives contain. We walk through this world in Him and wait for that day when He is revealed to all the world where unbelievably, we will share in all His glory. Amen!

Rev. Anthony.

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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